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Old 28 November 2015, 17:50   #16
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Join Date: May 2001
Location: New York
Posts: 17,650
Originally Posted by alexh View Post
I'm curious to know why they are so interesting? If they were Pi2 silicon then maybe I could understand the interest. But a Pi1 with no ethernet and a custom HDMI connector?
Well I bought one at Micro Center, the last place on Earth that had stock yesterday (and probably ran out now, they only had few left when I got mine). I have to say I am very impressed with this little thing.

The first thing is the price point. FIVE dollars man, does that not make it interesting to you? Even at Pi 1 speeds this would be a steal. For the price of one Pi 2 you can make a cluster of these and surpass a Pi 2 in raw processing power.
Second is the form factor of course. More suited to be embedded into things, wearables and all that. Clearly not as suited to be a "desktop computer" as a Pi 2 is, but very, very useful for other types of projects. The HDMI connector isn't custom, Mini HDMI is a standard and you can find plenty of adapters. Lack of network connectivity can be of course solved by a USB dongle or your custom GPIO interface.
Third, it is actually faster than a Pi 1, so it puts it a bit closer to the Pi 2.

I installed RetroPie yesterday on it and messed about all night until I got it right. At first the latest Retropie (I got the Pi 1 version) seems configured for A+/B+ models so the speed is a bit shit, as soon as I ramped up the overclocking (TURBO option worked with the Zero, Pi2 option didn't), almost every damn game that had slowdowns before worked fine. I hope they make a version optimized for Pi Zero.

I was playing F-Zero and Super Mario World 2, my SNES benchmarks, with a pretty much constant 60fps on SMW2 except when Super FX type shit happens and you notice a slowdown. F-Zero ran flawlessly.

Amiga emulation was AMAZING on ARMUAE. I didn't know it worked so well, compared to UAE4ALL. I ran full speed pretty much every game I threw at it except usual suspects: Lionheart slowed down, and so did parts of Brian The Lion. Turrican 2 and 3 ran just great. AGA games locked up the emulator (perhaps it isn't supported? Dunno).

Arcade emulation was smooth. Neo Geo and Capcom CPS2 machines all running super smooth!

I spent 5 dollars on the machine, then 4 on a cheap hub and 3 on a USB OTG cable, that's all. I had keyboard and mouse at home and also used a 1A phone charger to power all this that I had lying around. At first I thought it wouldn't give enough juice but everything worked, even when I plugged a USB stick!

So in total I spent like 12 dollars to build a very respectable retrogaming console. To me that's worth it a lot!

Now I gotta figure out in what kinda box I want to put this to make it a proper emulation console. I thought about building a mini arcade cabinet, but it feels gimmicky. Perhaps I'll just build a full size one at some point and power it wit this to begin with then progress to better hardware. This unit is perfect in my opinion to build handheld devices. The extra speed, small size and super reduced power consumption make it ideal for portable applications.

Anyway, that's my report on it. I really recommend anyone to get as many of these as they possibly can, they surely will come handy in many situations. This is the perfect unit for the Raspberry Pi floppy emulator project. Now I am considering building one. See how much price would be reduced on that project with this unit and realize that's the main selling point of this device.
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